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Jim Shead's Waterways Information

An encyclopedia of the canals and rivers of England and Wales, including historical data, provided by Jim Shead, Waterways Writer and Photographer.

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Birmingham Canal Museum Do we need one can we get one? Have a look and complete the survey to give your views. If you are organizing a UK canal or river event that you would like added to this list please let me know.

Today's Featured Waterway Photo

Walk Mill Lock No 63
For more information see Rochdale Canal.

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If you are a newcomer to the subject, or this web site, you may want to start with my Introduction pages. These give an introduction to this website, the UK Waterways System, its history and to inland boating on canals or rivers.

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Books, videos, DVDs and links to other canal shopping sites.

For non-waterway travel photographs see www.jim-shead.net

I am also webmaster for the following waterways sites Railway & Canal Historical Society
The Association of Nene River Clubs
House of York

All about the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) click here

Quote of the day No 210

Thursday 21 June 2018

Coal quickly became the backbone of the waterway, and its continued success in the face of railway competition from the middle of the 19th century was due largely to the development of a highly mechanised and efficient coal transport industry. The key to this was that early form of containerisation, the compartment boat. Rather charmingly known as Tom Puddings, these were iron tubs carrying up to 40 tons of coal, and designed to be marshalled into long lines, and then pulled, or later pushed, along by a tug. When first developed by the engineer W H Bartholomew, they were assembled in trains of six, but steady improvements in the technology, plus the increased power of the tugs, brought this total up to 19.

The Tom Puddings were loaded directly from coal staithes with overhead shutes at the collieries, but the real originality of the scheme was at the other end, where they were lifted bodily from the water by giant mechanical elevators and then upended directly into the holds of the waiting colliers. The whole process took a few minutes, and the train of iron tubs would soon be marshalled with the tug again and sent on its way back for another load. Later, with the opening of coal-fired power stations along the route, the Tom Puddings also took on the huge task of keeping them supplied. This inherently simple and efficient system ensured that the Aire & Calder continued to thrive well into the 20th century and remain profitable up to the nationalisation of the waterway network.

Paul Atterbury - Exploring Britainís Canals

For more information about these daily quotations see About the Quote of the Day.

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Jim Shead Waterways Photographer & Writer
Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
Home Introduction Waterways List Waterways Map Links Books DVD Articles Photo Gallery
Features Contact me Glossary Boats Events List History Local Waterways Help Photo List